Friday, May 31, 2013

Friday Spectacular

Well, we made it to Friday, and it wasn't even that hard! (Thanks three day weekend, we owe you one!)

Today I will be:

attending Maddy's Kindergarten thing-- and by "thing" I mean, the thing where you go and sit on tiny chairs and the kids apparently sing songs and present a slide show and do every other thing possible to make a mom cry. I must be strong.

putting Grant into a babysitting drop-in center while going to the above because the thought of trying to keep him quiet/entertained/not pulling everybody's backpacks out of their cubbies gives me hives. I will pay that overpriced center and be dang grateful for it too!

taking Miss M. out for lunch as a celebration/surprise! Just us two girls. It's going to be epic. Think Thelma and Louise, Kindergarten edition.

wearing my cute Target cardigan. Again. (and still loving every second by golly)

trying to figure out if I should paint the cabinets at our new house. I really really want to because we will have a pretty big overlap of time between when we have to be out of this rental and when we can move in and so it would make painting the cabinets much easier than moving in and having to keep kids away in the future. But....then I have to paint all of the cabinets in a kitchen and then MOVE. Aren't you tired just thinking of that? If you aren't, then you've never painted kitchen cabinets. Oh man.

also, I will be trying to decide what color to paint those cabinets. The overwhelming majority of my favorite kitchen photos on pinterest are white (I did an informal survey of my own pinterest and wrote down recurring themes in the pictures. *nerd alert*). Would you like to hear the top most frequent characteristics of my favorite kitchens pictures? They are: white upper and lower cabinets, wood floor, natural fiber rugs/baskets, darkish colored hardware, beadboard, big vintage inspired sinks, moldings, pendants, open shelving, dark or wood counters. I also had a fair amount of grayish/blue cabinets for the lower cabinets. Here is my dilemma. I painted my last cabinets with a kit and I wasn't all that thrilled about the longevity of that rustoleum kit. I was already seeing rub off spots in some areas that I had to touch up before we moved. I did like how it looked, but I did realize that the white looked cheap on the doors to me. I'm not sure if that's because 1. I'm a terrible painter, 2. I chose bright white which looks cheaper (I'm thinking this is the most probable) or 3. white just looks good if it is the original finish and painted white looks like cheap melamine. I loved my blue cabinets, but...I just don't know. I think part of my reservation is that sometimes when people paint older cabinets they don't look better--they just look like old cabinets with a coat of paint. Like pigs with lipstick. The type of door in our new house has a pretty obviously old design (to me) and I'm afraid it will just look bad. Maybe I can fill in some of the design?

the short answer to the entire above paragraph is WHO CARES. that is the sort of dorky back and forth that my brain gets into. Cue you feeling sorry for me and my dorky brain.

Anyway, hope you have a good Friday ahead of you too. And feel free to try and convince me one way or another about the cabinets. I'm a gutless flipflopper these days and so your convincing might work.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

ode to a cardigan

I was thinking today about how glad I was that I bought a cardigan at Target a few weeks ago for myself.

 I NEVER buy myself clothes. Never. Once in a blue moon I will buy myself a bunch of colored cotton t-shirts (on if on sale) when my previous set of colored cotton t-shirts has been stained beyond polite company wearing sake. But other than that, I really don't buy myself clothes. Mostly this is because when you are 1. cheap, 2. plus-size, it is really difficult to find clothing that meets both of those criteria. I can't just go into a thrift store (like I do with my kids and occasionally John) and find a general size area that fits me and try on clothes. And I can't even go into most generic stores and find a lot that fits--or if I do, it is usually really really ugly/huge floral printy/old lady/potato sackish. It gets frustrating sometimes. So that means I just don't bother unless I absolutely have to bother.

So anyway, the other day I was in Target in their pitifully tiny plus size section (which seems ironic) and I found what I have been secretly wanting for months--a coral colored cardigan. It wasn't on sale. I was bummed. There was only two sweaters left and only one of them was in my size. I tried it on and it was perfect. Suddenly, it was like some crazed fashionista second personality stole over me and I threw the cardigan in my cart and didn't let myself think about the fact that it cost $20 (or was it $25, ack??) and I didn't let myself think of the things I could buy the kids with that $20. I just shoved it in the cart next to the cleaning supplies and went to the check out stand.

Now here I am several weeks later, and I am SO glad I bought it. I have worn it many times since then (probably an embarrassing amount if I were fashion savvy), and I feel cute every time I put it on. The amazing thing is this: the budget didn't fall apart, we aren't starving or homeless, the world continued to turn even though I bought myself a sweater that was not on sale.

Sometimes it's hard to buy myself nice things (or buy myself anything except for the occasional Kindle book). Sometimes it's hard to justify spending time alone without any kids. Sometimes I find myself wishing for a little bit of time to do my hair and make-up and shower and exercise (uh, in reverse order ha). Right now it's not really doable for me to accomplish all of that. But that dumb little sweater has made a big difference in the miserly pleasures that I allow myself. Sometimes giving the kids one less thing so that I can have something nice is okay. Even as I write those words it seems so obvious. But in practice, it's sort of hard for me.

So I guess the question is, how do all of the cute moms do it? How do you find the time to look nice every day (or do you just freshen up for carpool??) How do you find that balance between being a mom who just lives for her kids every moment, to a mom that also recognizes the need to nurture small parts of her own life while in the midst of mothering? I think the answer is always times and seasons in life, and I am honestly very happy to focus my time and energy on my children the majority of the time, but the astounding difference that pitiful little cardigan made to my existence has opened my eyes that maybe it's time for some more balance in my life.

Friday, May 24, 2013

ramble ramble

Things on my mind:

1. Chik-Fil-A

2. what our kids need from us

3. do you or your spouse get your school aged kids ready?

4. cheap date ideas?

5. unemployment and underemployment is hard

Let me briefly explain each of those.

1. Chik-Fil-A. I took Grant to Chik-Fil-A today because I needed an excuse to get out of the house and Grant needed a playplace to hang with other little people. While Grant was playing I noticed a little girl wailing on the second level of the climb-up play structure and a stressed out mom trying to hold a baby while also attempting to coax/cajole/wiggle that little girl down. The mom's efforts were rewarded by the little girl then holding on even tighter to the play structure. I jumped out of my chair and offered to hold the baby just as the mom was looking for a place to safely set him down. She was SO grateful to me and my two seconds of holding her adorable little baby so she could get her little girl down. I could see the embarassment on her face both for how her daughter was acting, and for needing to accept my help. I don't know if she could tell that I meant it from the bottom of my toes to the top of my head when I told her, "It's okay. I was just barely in your same shoes with my two little kids. It's okay." But I really really hope she could tell that I was rooting her on. It was like watching myself from just a year and a half ago from the outside. Seeing the stress, the guilt, the tiredness, the too few arms to get things done. She kept thanking me afterwards, and all I could think was: I am SO glad she let me help her, and I think it's sorta sad that something so small (holding a baby for two seconds) seems so momentous these days, and lastly I wish I could have hugged her and said, "you're doing a great job, AND a great work. Don't give up!"

2. I read this article. It's titled, "The Top 10 Things Children Really Want Their Parents To Do With Them." It was a very affirming article for me to read because it is a conscious decision I make to stay home as much as possible with my kids. Some days I NEED to get out (see number 1) of the house to maintain my sanity, but for the most part I try to give my kids lots of time at home just to be together, and to play, and to even be bored occasionally (you may think I'm joking, but I believe the gift of boredom is a real gift. That's a whole post in and of itself).

3. In our house, John gets Maddy ready in the mornings and then takes her to school. He brings her to me to do her hair in the morning (He used to do her hair as well, until I couldn't take it anymore--Vidal Sassoon he is not). I had to beg him to wake me up to do her hair for weeks before he actually would do it because he loves to let me sleep in a little. I always feel slightly guilty about not being up and helping to get Maddy ready, but I think John loves that time with just the two of them. What do you do in your house?

4. We never go on dates because the main date that we end up doing is a movie date. When you combine a movie, a babysitter, some over-priced movie snacks, and occasionally dinner, you get a super expensive date. What sorts of cheap dates do you do? We went to a bookstore for one date and that was fun! Maybe frozen yogurt would be another good idea. What else you got for me??

5. I have a friend who's husband has a master's degree and is desperately searching for a better job and having a hard time. My sister and her husband have just finished many years of schooling and are having a hard time finding anything at all. It makes my heart heavy. I am always reminded of a quote I heard while training to be a Welfare missionary for my church. It was spoken by Gordon B. Hinckley over 40 years ago, he said,

 “A man out of work is of special moment to the Church because, deprived of his inheritance, he is on trial as Job was on trial—for his integrity. As days lengthen into weeks and months and even years of adversity, the hurt grows deeper . . . Continued economic dependence breaks him. . . . He is threatened with spiritual ruin. . . . The Church cannot hope to save a man on Sunday if during the week it is a complacent witness to the crucifixion of his soul.” 

We know personally the fear, anxiety, and feelings of worthlessness that accompany unemployment. We were so lucky to have family that helped us to carry our burdens during those hard times.  I am praying hard for my sister and my friend. 

Sorry to end on a sad note, but in a positive turn, it will be so nice to have a long weekend coming up! I plan to enjoy it by eating some watermelon and letting the kids squirt their dad with squirt guns all weekend long. :)
 and because i hate to have posts without pictures, here are some random photos from the week--here is one from the pond near our house that John took. I love these ducks and their ducklings. they are always crossing the street, all in a line just like in the book Make Way for Ducklings

 baby jazzercise
 you use the baby as your resistant weight
 muddle jumping is what i call this

 that was a fun laundry day

 time to gas up the cars
 oh, and I wanted to get your opinions. Someone left this on the curb with a free sign. You know that I can't pass up free furniture. it's a sickness. what should i do with it? paint it? (what color?) or sand and restain it? leave it alone and give it a stiff cleaning?

 i love the keyhole

 oh yeah, and sometimes your kids need to play with a glorified cardboard box. (note to self, putting this away for a few months post christmas was a GREAT idea).

cheese! now, that's a much better way to end.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

middle child syndrome and HI


You probably thought I'd gone and abandoned this blog completely. Well....yeah, me too.

I, in fact, don't really know if people still check this, but I have a sneaking suspicion that if you are anything like me you just read blogs from your google reader (p.s. You should switch to feedly, it's great and google reader is going to disappear soon), and so this little blog post will pop up on your feed.

So, I'm back. I think what I have finally figured out is that I need a zone that I can have private and a zone where I can have most people. I have finally given myself permission to (try) not to care what people think of my neurotic craziness with switching blogs around. This sort of thing happens when you're a sensitive people pleasing middle child. :) Of course, it also happens when you feel that your privacy and safety has been breached. Having said that, I felt like coming back on here to say hello again.

Latest updates:

1. we are under contract for a house (!!)

2. it is a ranch style house (first time ever owning a ranch style and am pumped)

3. the kitchen needs updating (I'm both excited and tired just thinking about the shenanigans I'm going to probably bring upon myself because of this. it will all be slowly, surely, cheaply done though.)

4. I have a cuckoo clock that I never told you about (I bought it while at my Mom's during Easter and I have refused to hang it until we are in our new house. It is my house warming present to myself).

5. the house has a covered back porch (I am already imagining the strings of tiny globe lights I want to hang out there a la Olive Garden)

6. it also has a fenced back yard (imagine, the kids will be contained and I will finally be able to breathe a sigh of relief....until they find some other trouble to get into)

7. I was freaked out about being under contract with a house for the first 3-4 days (My fall back emotional response these days is PANIC EVERYONE!! and then I calm down)

8. it is not a super small house like I thought we would get, and it's definitely not a big house. (Just like the three bears and goldilocks, we found one that was just right)

9. there are four bedrooms in this house (which means a room for you to come and visit and stay)

10. and best of all the trees. large, mature, beautiful trees. (privacy is my new favorite house feature)

so of course we're still in the beginning stages and something could still potentially go wrong--knock on wood-- but I am finally giving myself permission to be happy and excited about it. the closing day is still a ways off, but it is nice to not be checking listings out fifty times a day trying to catch a good deal.

So, with all of that said, Roll Call, anyone still here?